Why did national pre-election polls predict the presidential race wrong again?


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Before the election, many voter polls nationwide predicted big wins for former Vice President Joe Biden. They were wrong and it’s not the first time.

There are roughly 15 to 20 pre-election day voter polls that are used to predict the outcome of major elections, like the presidential race.

This election cycle, many predicted a Biden win, anywhere from five to 10 percentage points.

They were, for the most part, all wrong and it’s not the first time. It also happened in the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and again for the midterm in 2018.

“The sample sizes are way too small. And in a diverse state like Florida, they do not delve into the slices of our extremely diverse population,” said Dr. Susan MacManus, a political analyst.

And it’s not just voters left in a lurch by imperfect polls. MacManus says candidates depend on them to design their campaigns around.

“What they do is they mislead the person who is looking at them. They also mislead the candidate who is relying on them to plan their strategy,” MacManus said.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the Associated Press reports Biden having 264 of the 270 needed electoral votes to win with Trump sitting at 214 electoral votes. However, several key states are still counting ballots, such as Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

It is still unknown when a president will be announced.


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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